Domain Guidelines

The UBC domain and its subdomains are ways to communicate the university’s brand and reputation through its online web presences. To protect the integrity of UBC’s image and to limit the proliferation of unnecessary, redundant, or ambiguous subdomains, Communications and Marketing and the UBC IT Network Management Centre (NMC) have created Requirements and Guidelines around appropriate usage of third-level UBC subdomains (i.e. name.ubc.ca). Whenever possible, UBC subdomains are reserved for UBC business units or strategic initiatives that support the university as a whole.

Definitions

Domains
A domain is a human-friendly name for identifying and locating websites. Every domain name consists of a unique descriptive string of text followed by an extension.

[name][dot][com/ca/org/net, etc.]

Subdomains
A subdomain is a subordinate of a domain name. For example, “level3.ubc.ca”, is a third-level UBC subdomain and “level4.level3.ubc.ca”, is a fourth-level UBC subdomain.

General Guidelines

  • Keep subdomains short and concise.
  • Spaces or special characters are not allowed.
  • Avoid subdomains with proper names of external third party products or services. For example, avoid subdomains such as: microsoft.ubc.ca, apple.ubc.ca, blackboard.ubc.ca, etc. Instead use your unit’s name (or a short version of it) and keywords or text that describes your site’s purpose.
  • Avoid “underscores” to break up text in your subdomain. Underscores can be difficult to read and may be confused with spaces. If your subdomain is lengthy and you feel the need to break up the text for readability, use “dashes” instead.
  • Single-letter subdomains are not allowed.
  • Use lowercase letters in your subdomains and avoid using CAPS. In some cases, web servers are case sensitive and won’t resolve domain names with CAPS.
  • Incorporate relevant keywords in your subdomain name to improve search engine rankings.
  • Avoid creating duplicate content or multiple redirects to your site. These practices may decrease your search rankings.
  • Third-level UBC subdomains are generally reserved for strategic initiatives that support the whole university rather than a particular unit. For example, coop.science.ubc.ca implies a co-op program for the Faculty of Science, whereas, coop.ubc.ca implies a university-wide co-op program.
  • UBC subdomains are subject to the same guidelines as defined by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).

For complete technical guidelines, see Requirements and Guidelines.

Who is Eligible for a UBC Subdomain?

All UBC faculties, departments, and administrative or business units must use a UBC subdomain. However, if your website supports a collaborative initiative with external organizations where there are multiple partners or business owners, a UBC subdomain may not be an option. In these cases, it is recommended that you use .ca domains instead to express neutrality.

Who isn’t Eligible for a UBC Subdomain?

  • Individual names, student clubs, and non-UBC organizations.
  • Websites that are informal in nature or reflect your personal opinions.

What Other Options are Available?

  • If you are a UBC student, faculty, staff, or alum, and you are NOT eligible for a UBC subdomain, consider UBC Blogs as an alternative solution.
  • Consider creating sub folders instead of creating multiple subdomains. E.g. science.ubc.ca/coop. Sub folders are easier to manage and do not require a submission process.

Why Should I Use a UBC Subdomain?

  • Websites that use a UBC subdomain are automatically indexed with UBC’s Google Search Engine. Sites that do not use a UBC subdomain will not be searchable.
  • UBC subdomains give assurances to your site visitors that your site is an official entity of The University of British Columbia. This is particularly important should you require users to submit personal information or credit card payments.
  • Use of a UBC subdomain creates cohesion among UBC websites, supports UBC’s Brand Identity, and allows your site to leverage UBC’s image and reputation as a Tier-one, internationally recognized university.

How Do I Request a UBC Subdomain?

To submit a request for a UBC subdomain, please visit How to Apply for a UBC Subdomain.

What Should I Do When I Launch My Website?

Contact the Web Communications Team (web.admin@ubc.ca) at Communications and Marketing to list your site on the top-level UBC.ca site (e.g. A-Z Websites, Faculties & Schools). Listing your site on UBC.ca will help Google’s Search Robot Spider index your site.